Looking to De-Stress? Try Coloring. (I’m Serious)

 

Being a truck driver, or a truck drivers spouse, or a truck driving student can be stressful. Most of us have hobbies that we turn to when we are home, but what do you do when you’re out on the road, in small (ok, cramped) living conditions, with non-traditional working hours? When you can’t really hit the gym regularly, or you’ve tried knitting but it’s just not your thing…

Well, if you’re looking for a new stress-relieving hobby, consider breaking out the colored pencils and relaxing with an adult coloring book.

Yes, adult coloring books are really a thing!

Several people have done research on the matter (yes, we think that’s weird too) and have lumped these coloring books in with other “childish activities” that us grown-ups are going back to because it’s a mental escape that brings us back to our childhood. While they may be considered a “childish activity,” childish they are not!

Think of these adult coloring books and printable coloring pages as a sort of mindful meditation, something that is used to reduce the stress levels many (Okay, all) of us are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala tells the Huffington Post that “coloring triggers and stimulates the brain areas associated with motor skills, creativity, and the senses. Coloring helps to calm the part of our brains called the amygdala, which controls our emotions and stress. Simply put? Coloring takes our minds off our problems, and as a result leaves us feeling much more relaxed, rested, and at ease.”

Something that sounds pretty appealing to someone that drives a big, giant truck for a living. No one wants a stressed-out driver behind the wheel of a big rig.

But, we like to appeal to the masses, young and old, male and female. Coloring is just fun, and who doesn’t like a big truck!? So, this page is for you and/or the kiddos in your life- who ever gets to it first! Feel free to print it out (perhaps print out multiple copies to share) and color it as wild and wacky as you dare!

Send us a picture of your finished product, and if we like it enough, we might even consider re-painting the trucks to match! (Okay, probably not – but we WILL give you a shout out on our Facebook and Twitter pages!)

USTDS - b&w truck

Got a finished one you want to send us? There’s a couple super simple ways you can share your masterpiece with us. Either post it to our Facebook page, or send it to us in a private message, or you can use this form and we will share it for you! Any way you choose, we can’t wait to see all your lovely artwork!

Trucking industry adapts to shortage – KOAA.com

 

There is a shortage of truck drivers in America, and the trucking industry is responding to that shortage.

Source: Trucking industry adapts to shortage – KOAA.com

Posted: Dec 14, 2015 8:24 PM CST
Updated: Dec 14, 2015 8:24 PM CST
By Andy Koen

COLORADO SPRINGS – There is a shortage of truck drivers in America. The combination of an improving economy, changing regulatory environment and an aging workforce have all caused recruiters to get creative in order to attract new employees.

At the US Truck Driving School in El Paso County, many students are pre-hired meaning there is a job already waiting for them when the graduate. Many students have their tuition paid by their future employers. Training Director Mark Haefner said even those students who aren’t already hired can easily find work.

“We do have representatives from several companies coming in just about every other week that will talk with the students that are not pre-hired and draw them in also,” Haefner said.

At the Love’s Trucks Stop north of Pueblo, drivers tell us it’s job that requires a certain personality type.

“It’s not for everybody,” said driver Jeffery Harris. “If you’re a social kind of person, you know, I mean you’re going be in the truck kind of by yourself. So, if you’re used to being alone and that type of thing.”

Long distance runs that keep drivers away from home for extended periods have historically been part of a trucking career. Haefner said he tells students to expect to work odd hours.

“There is no 9 to 5, it’s none of this you’re going to work for 8 or 10 hours a day and then rest the rest of the time because the way freight has to travel will depend on how you’re going to be able to work and sleep and so on,” he said.

But recruiters tell us, even that is changing. In addition to new pay bonuses and benefits packages, many companies are now reworking routes to make them more accommodating of their drivers home lives.

“We have a lot of home daily routes in the Colorado Springs and Denver area specifically, they can count on being gone in 5 days and have two days off,” said Guy Horn, a recruiter for Werner Enterprises, the nation’s fourth largest trucking company.

He adds that new changing regulations are adding to the shrinking work force.

“Parameters have changed and that’s forced (out) a lot of drivers who are good, qualified drivers, and experienced drivers that don’t meet the the qualifications and just the demands of the job itself play into it,” Horn said.

Haefner explained that requirements to obtain a Commercial Drivers License used to vary from state to state. Those requirements are more uniform and apply nationwide today.

“It’s actually making things a little bit harder for people to obtain CDL’s,” he said.

There are roughly 3 million truck drivers on the road. Last year, the median annual salary was $40,000 a year. However, Horn said many of their new drivers at Werner Enterprises can expect to earn up to $50,000 their first year.

If you’ve got questions about how you can get started as a truck driver in this area or over-the-road, give us a call. Denver: 800-727-7364 or Colorado Springs: 800-666-7364 or stop by any of our recruiter events or job fairs.


Learn More: Campus Events

Show your support: Greenlight a Vet

 

Greenlight a VetShow your support for the men and women who have served this great nation, and Greenlight a Vet!

When they’re out of uniform, and in civilian clothes, it’s harder to show our veterans the appreciation they deserve, because they just blend right in with the rest of us. This simple campaign is intended to spark a national conversation regarding the recognition of veterans, and “greenlight” them forward as valued members of our communities.

What exactly is “Greenlight a Vet?”

Greenlight a Vet is a campaign to establish visible national support for our veterans by changing one porch light to green. Change one light to green in a visible location – on your porch, or in your window – and keep it glowing every day as a symbol of appreciation and support for our veterans.

Greenlight a Vet

For more information, please visit the campaign website at www.greenlightavet.com

At United States Truck Driving School, we understand the challenges veterans face in making the transition from military to civilian life, and are proud to support our men and women in uniform. We are honored to participate in financial assistance & training programs specifically designed to prepare veterans for careers in the civilian workforce, in this trucking and transportation industries.

For more information on our veteran career training programs, please contact us today to see how to get started training in your new civilian career.

Call our Denver campus at: 1-800-727-7364

Call our Colorado Springs campus at: 1-800-666-7364

4 Times You’ll Wish You Paid More Attention in Trucking School

 

We’ve all had those times. The moment of truth, as it were, when the chips are down…and you are woefully under-prepared and unable to complete the task you are assigned.

For many of us this happens at school most often, and maybe at work as an adult. We all know the moment well—maybe we didn’t heed someone’s advice, or we knew a key deadline was approaching, and we procrastinated a bit too long. But you know the moment when you’re in it by the wave of panic that washes over you, and the feeling of utter helplessness that creeps into your soul.

4 Times You'll Wish You Paid More Attention in Trucking School

When you’re in truck driving school you don’t want to have this feeling, because it means you’re failing at something, or you’re about to make a mistake that you will really come to regret. If you’re taking a practice test, you may have found the best time to have that feeling, because it means you still have more time to get your business in order before the real moment arrives.

If it comes at other times, though, you may not be so lucky. Here are 4 times you REALLY wish you had paid more attention in truck driving school:

When you’re in traffic. On an Icy Road. And that car cuts you off. Managing to get “lucky” and coast through trucking school without giving it your all may not be so lucky after all. You certainly won’t be thinking that when you’re stuck in heavy winter traffic on an icy road and you get cut off…and you have no idea how to properly react.

Being in perhaps the most dangerous spot during your time as a truck driver and not knowing the proper safety procedures can be deadly, not just for you but for people around you. This is one time you will definitely want to have as much knowledge and information at your disposal as you can.

When your truck breaks down in North Dakota. Being out on the road all alone isn’t fun. Being stranded out in the middle of nowhere is always a difficult proposition, but imagine being responsible for thousands of dollars’ worth of cargo in the trailer, attached to a $100,000-plus truck that belongs to someone else…and not knowing what to do.

Shortchanging yourself in the weeks before this incident is once again harmful to more than just you, who is broken down in a rural area, not making miles and not making money. And maybe because you were daydreaming that day you didn’t hear the instructor talking about taking a small set of tools with you, so a repair you could have made yourself in 20 minutes turns into a four-hour delay, costing you a day’s worth of miles, and pay.

When you’re taking the CDL Exam. Many college students have a frequent dream that they show up the day of a final exam, only to realize they hadn’t been to class all semester. This can be your trucking school nightmare come true if you let yourself drift through your truck driving practice. When the CDL tester is asking you questions, you want to know your stuff, and you need to be able to answer questions confidently. Not to mention that you really should have the moves to go along with that knowledge.

When you’re at a job you dislike…because you failed your CDL exam. You squandered your time and money on truck driving school because you didn’t put a full effort into your work, and now you are stuck back at your old job. You know, the one you were trying to get away from when you started truck driving school? Unfortunately, because you were unable to pass the CDL exam, it’s most likely you will never even get to these other points and come to regret your decision not to put 100 percent into your work. It’s probably actually better for you anyway.

Life is full of choices. Some are difficult, others are unpleasant, and still others are easy. If you’re serious about becoming a truck driver, the decision about how much effort to put into your truck driver training may not appeal to your laziness, but it should be one of the easier choices you make.

If you’re ready to get started, then contact us today! Our Admissions Reps are ready to answer any questions you have about enrolling, financial aid, or job placement services. Give us a call at your closest campus, or simply fill out the form you see on this page. It’s that easy!

Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve

 

Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve
United States Truck Driving School – 2015

We recognize the Guard and Reserve are essential to the strength of our Nation and the well-being of our communities.

In the highest American tradition, the patriotic men and women of the Guard and Reserve serve voluntarily in an honorable and vital profession. They train to respond to their community and their country in time of need. They deserve the support of every segment of our society.

If these volunteer forces are to continue to serve our Nation, increased public understanding is required of the essential role of the Guard and Reserve in preserving our national security.

Therefore, we join other employers in the pledge that:

– We fully honor, recognize, and comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA).

– We will provide our managers and supervisors with the tools they need to effectively manage those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

– We appreciate the values, leadership, and unique skills Service members bring to the workforce and will encourage opportunities to employ Guardsmen, Reservists, transitioning Service members, and Veterans.

– We will continually recognize and support our country’s Service members and their families in peace, in crisis, and in war.

 

Signed,
Richard Lammers
employer, United States Truck Driving School

Paul E. Mock
National Chair, ESGR

Ash Carter
Secretary of Defense

January 1, 2015

 

View or download the statement in its entirety (document will open in PDF viewer):
Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve, USTDS 2015

Life on the Road: Can You Handle the Pressure?

 

Life on the Road: Can You Handle the Pressure?Ask most any truck driver about the largest source of stress of the job, and invariably the answer will be “time away from home.” And indeed it is an eternal source of consternation for many a truck driver, and is chief among reasons why this isn’t a profession fit for just anyone.

However, if you are reading this, chances are fair that you are already expecting this part of the job, and you fall somewhere between embracing this part of the job and tolerating it for the sake of a paycheck.

But once you are out on the road, buddy, it’s a whole new ballgame.

It’s one thing to be a single person, a young man or woman, ready to make your way out onto the open road, just you and your rig and the load you’re carrying, but once you’re out there and reality sets in that you’re out here alone, your thinking can change really quickly.

Of course, when you’re on the road and working, concentrating on your electronic logs and on paying attention to the road and keeping the truck in the proper lane, you may not be thinking too much of what you are missing at home. It’s the time when you aren’t driving, when you’re hunkered down in a truck stop, waiting in line to take a shower or nestled in your tiny bunk in the back of your truck that reality sets in.

Do you have a special someone at home? Be sure they can handle the pressure too. Many a driver had his career, or marriage, derailed by a significant other who grew weary of the solitude that many young truckers crave. Remember that when you have a family, truck time doesn’t only affect you; it takes hold of everyone in your family.

Going over the road can indeed be tough. If driving a truck takes a special breed of person, going over the road can take a saint. Recognize what it is you’re missing out on, and what you have to deal with when you return, and be ready to make accommodations for those things.

So what are some good coping strategies for life on the road? Well, that’s difficult to say, because only those who have been on the road truly know what it is like to be out there. V

Of course, those of us who don’t have the privilege of living that life can only offer suggestions. Even those who do go out on the road may enjoy their own processes and recipes for fun and success, but you have to find what works for you and roll with it. Here are a few suggestions for coping:

  • Make the most of home time. Get things done. Spend time with your friends and family, and try to stay away from work as much as possible.
  • Call home frequently. Speak with loved ones often, many times for no reason. Make sure you are staying in the loop on what’s going on back at home and at the old haunts.
  • Keep yourself busy on the road. Have a hobby or something meaningful to do while you’re on the road. Get plenty of exercise, rest, and good food (that is, NOT junk food).
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Understand that loneliness is normal, and is a temporary feeling. You will have home time, and you will have the chance to make the most of it.
  • Find a routine that works for you. What keeps you happy when you are on the road and not working? Do you have a certain author’s books that you like to read? Do you stream video? Do you like to knit? Whatever it is, find what works and keep it going.

Pre-Employment Screening Program: The Trucking Student’s FAQ

 

 Pre-Employment Screening Program: The Trucking Student’s FAQYou’ve probably already heard of the PSP, and how your score can affect your employability within the trucking industry.

But just what is the pre-employment screening and how does it affect you? Does that fender-bender you had on that rain-slicked road when you were 17 mean that you can’t get a CDL? Does that speeding ticket, then the ticket for making an accidental illegal right turn on red at an intersection between 1 pm and 6 pm mean that trucking companies won’t touch you with a 10-foot pole?

If you are really hoping to land some of those truck driving jobs, you need to be educated about the PSP, what it means for your trucking career (before it even starts) and what you can do to keep it under control. Here are some frequently asked questions about the PSP and how it affects you as a truck driver.

  • What is the PSP?

The Pre-Employment Screening is a program that was established in 2010 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), designed to give carriers, industry members, and others (i.e. drivers themselves) to review and examine the driving records of the people to whom they are considering extending employment offers.

  • What is in the PSP?

PSP data includes the most recent five years of crash data and the most recent three years of roadside inspection data. This data is housed in the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), a database maintained by FMCSA.

  • Why is the PSP important to employers?

Consider the PSP something akin to a background or reference check on you. For carriers, it’s a new way to check in on the people they are entrusting their expensive trucks and even more valuable cargo onto.

  • What does the PSP mean for me as I apply for trucking jobs?

Obviously, carriers are looking for people with the best driving records, and will avoid job candidates with a history of a lot of accidents, negative encounters with the traffic cop, or both. Also, it may be a solid way for carriers to see how much it will cost to insure you. If you have a long history of traffic tickets/reckless driving citations, or have had 4 accidents in the past 5 years, you probably already know your insurance has gone up. That works the same for trucking companies.

  • Do all trucking companies use the PSP? Is it required?

The PSP is a voluntary program for both drivers and carriers. Some companies may not have made the shift to include PSP data in their hiring process, but after 5 years of being easily available that may say more about whether you want to work for them than whether they will hire you. While it isn’t mandatory by law to submit to a PSP check, your employer may require it before hiring you.

  • How do carriers get access to my PSP? Can I block them from seeing it?

Motor Carriers can get an account in order to be granted access to PSP’s data online. However, it is required for carriers to receive consent from any driver whose information they access. That means that indeed if you don’t want someone to see your PSP score, you can legally block them. However, if you are hoping to actually land employment with that company, it probably isn’t a good idea to deny them permission to access it.

  • Can I see my PSP?

Of course! You can request a copy from the FMCSA’s PSP web portal, though there is a $10 fee, and you must have both your current, and any other driver’s license numbers you have had over the past 5 years. Alternatively, you may make a Privacy Act request to the FMCSA to receive a free copy, though it may take longer for you to receive. It is of course a good idea to review your PSP periodically to ensure it is accurate and current.

What is the future of the trucking industry?

 

In the trucking industry there is a lot of consternation on the part of truck drivers, particularly when it comes to the future. The recent unveiling of a so-called automated truck has many drivers on edge, fearing that the future will bring fleets of driverless trucks, allowing the shipping industry to operate their vehicles without employing drivers to control them.

Rest assured, drivers are still very much a part of the future of the industry, and “driverless” is a bit of a misnomer. These trucks have what is essentially a cruise control that allows a driver to do other things during certain periods of the daily journey. In other words, there is no danger of real, live drivers going away any time soon.

So truck drivers are very much part of the future of the industry. In fact, the driver shortage is arguably the greatest source of stress for those who are banking on the future of the trucking industry, namely owners. There are of course new environmental regulations that will be expensive in the short term (though the regulations, and the breaks that are coming along with it, are designed to help companies make that money back), but still it’s sheer manpower that will make or break the next decade-plus for most companies.

What is the future of the trucking industry?That means you as a potential driver have great power, and have the opportunity not only to secure employment opportunity for yourself for the next decade and beyond, but a chance to really cement your career.

The key to that transition? Adaptation.

Many truck drivers want to focus on driving—that is, their job—and feel like messing with what they consider to be side concerns a waste of time. While those people will have jobs today and tomorrow, they are shortchanging their futures. By keeping up with the changes in the industry—including those technological changes—they would be securing their futures, and keeping themselves relevant in the industry.

Instead, those people will find themselves struggling to keep up with those changes once they arrive, and may be far behind the curve once they do arrive. That reality becomes frustrating for those people, and may even lead to them leaving the industry because of their inability to adapt to its demands.

But as a young driver, you will have the opportunity to thrive in this environment and take the lead in the next 10 years. The key to success is twofold: first, keeping up with what changes are coming, which means listening, looking, and reading up on a regular basis. Reading trucking blogs and news sites, speaking with management at your company and at others, and participating in things like union activities (if you are union), or trucking organizations, can help keep you in the know on what is coming, and when.r

The other key is something you can imminently control: your own attitude. No matter what industry you are in, chances are you are a small fish in a very big pond. That is never truer than for truck drivers, who are one of about 2.5 million. That’s a lot of opportunity for innovation and change, and as a single individual there is little you can do to control or stem the tides of change.

Instead, focus on going with the flow, so to speak. Be able to roll with the changes, and be as prepared as you can to see those changes coming. Worry more about what you have to learn than what you have already learned, and focus on the next task each day.

Change is happening in the trucking industry. It just is, and it’s happening whether you’re a part of it or not. Accepting that, and focusing instead on the changes that are to come, will keep you in the industry longer than swimming against the current and fighting the inevitable.

What should I expect from truck driving school?

 

It’s always a little nerve-wracking to get started down a new career path. In truck driving, it’s particularly difficult, since most of us have little in the way of actual experience with the trucking industry.

There are also several different types of trucking schools, and while each may take a different approach to instructing you on how to learn to handle and drive a big rig, you should still have two things you are largely expecting regarding your trucking school experience.

Gazette-Story-31The first is lots of time in the truck. This counts for both sitting and driving time. After all, this is truck DRIVING school, so you should expect plenty of time in the cab. You will get a comprehensive overview of the truck’s controls from steering wheel to axle, all before you even start up your truck, much less drive it anywhere.

But fear not; soon you will be driving, and your truck driver training will be in full swing. You’ll spend many hours in the truck over the course of those weeks, learning how it handles, how it starts, stops, and maneuvers in traffic and on the highway. This is the physical part of the job, the core of your truck driver education, and something you will be continuing to adapt to throughout your career as conditions change in the industry.

The other part of the job is the mental part of being a truck driver, and the other thing you should expect a lot of from your truck driver training: learning the rules and regulations governing truck drivers both on the road and off.

This includes the traffic laws you will have to abide by while out on the road, from which lane you are to operate in to yielding to speed to just about everything else there is about driving. These rules are often similar to those governing all motorists, but as a commercial driver you will have additional rules you must abide by.

The other part of the mental side of the job includes the rules governing you as a driver. These include things such as required home time, the maximum number of hours per day you are legally allowed to drive, and similar regulations. These are of course linked to the job of driving the truck, but you will be taught the rules and regulations separately.

These are largely in place for your protection and safety, both to ensure the trucking company doesn’t force you to drive longer hours than you are physically capable of, to reduce driver fatigue and the accidents that can occur as a result, and so that you abide by them yourself.

These are the two things you should expect plenty of during your time in trucking school. You will of course have other expectations, difficulties, and challenges, but if you can absorb these two key parts of your experience, you will have no problems rolling through your coursework, learning the truck and how to operate it, and moving on to earning your CDL.

Truck Drivers: Why Good Eating Habits Are Important to You

 

We’ve discussed staying healthy on the road, and a big part of that is establishing and keeping good eating habits. When you’re a truck driver it’s particularly important, considering many truckers spend most of their waking hours sitting in a truck and relatively sedentary.

Health_is_importantAdd to it being away from home and pressure to get where you are going as quickly as possible, the temptation is to load up on foods high in fat and calories and low in cost, rather than eating in a healthy and responsible way. Fast food, and the high calories, fatty content, and low nutritional value that accompanies is a powerful temptation, particularly when you are in a rush to get back on the road.

A lot of drivers are unsure of how to properly eat healthy, relying on trips to diners and fast food, with convenience stores the closest thing they have to a grocery store. But a little good planning can go a long way toward your health.

 

Healthy Meals

The life of a trucker is one often filled with burgers and fries, steaks and butter, and sour cream and coffee and soda. This is far from the healthiest meals you could be eating. And while when you’re on the road in rural areas looking to eat, options can be somewhat limited, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise good food judgment and find something healthy to dine on.

When dining in restaurants, many people looking for healthy options immediately think “salad.” This can certainly be a misnomer and certainly not always true. For example, a fried chicken salad can have cheeses, fatty dressings, and other high-calorie foods included in them, leaving them not much healthier than a burger and fries.

It’s more important to be creative: look for grilled chicken and fish as a staple of your restaurant dining. Look for vegetables and fruits, and maybe rice instead of fries. Also, drink water instead of soda. Soda is empty calories, and just 3 or 4 per day can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake.

For example, let’s choose a popular restaurant chain—Chili’s. If you order a plate of their boneless buffalo wings, you’re consuming 1,090 calories. The boneless buffalo chicken salad? 1,040 calories. The Caribbean salad with grilled chicken? 720. The Quesadilla Explosion salad will set you back 1,430 calories. Even their grilled chicken sandwich has over 1,000 calories.

Their lighter choices, however, features steaks, salads, and chicken platters, with Ancho Salmon being the most calorie-rich with 600. Most of those dishes are about half the calories of the above dishes. Just being aware and making the right decision can make a big difference.

Snacking right

When you’re fueling your rig, you pick a few choice items from the station’s store, right? Beef jerky, potato chips, candy bars, right? It’s no secret those are mostly empty calories, and while they taste good, they also have almost no nutritional value whatsoever.

How about this? A small cooler filled with fresh fruit and vegetables. Cut up apples or celery and a little peanut butter. Raisins or dried cranberries. Trail mix, peanuts, or almonds. Stash a few bottles of water in there as well.

And yes, of course there is limited space in your trunk, and things like ice need to be replenished on a regular basis. But for one (or two, for those of you who join a team), a small cooler doesn’t take up that much space, and compared to paying convenience store prices, you may be saving yourself some money. That might be worth the little bit of space you lose.

Why all this emphasis on health?

You’re driving a truck, not becoming a professional athlete, right? That is true, but driving a truck is a physical job that requires people who don’t necessarily have to be in tip-top shape, but at least need to be high functioning. When you are a truck driver, there are dangers to putting on weight beyond heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. When you are carrying extra weight, you are prone to sleep apnea and fatigue. That can spell trouble when you are driving on long, dull stretches of highway, which can make you more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel.

Also, over time that extra weight can lead to those other issues. Unhealthy truck drivers are prone to ailments that cause problems in their extremities, particularly the feet and legs, which can make driving uncomfortable, and later, can cause you severe pain. As you get older, it may become increasingly difficult to impossible to do your job.

Your health is ultimately your own business, but if you want to remain healthy, follow some of these steps and take precautions. The key is to eat less high-fat, high-calorie fare, and more natural fresh fruits and vegetables. By simply making wise eating decisions, you can stay healthier and have a longer, more productive, more enjoyable career.